Public announcement of the identity of a new pope who is not a cardinal


The cardinals almost always choose one of their own as the new pope, and then step out onto a balcony before the public and introduce him. Suppose they choose a non-cardinal who is far from Rome. Do they wait until his arrival in Rome to tell the public who he is? Do they wait until his arrival to announce that they’ve chosen someone? Might Swiss guards meet him at his residence in his home town and escort him to the airport to go to Rome?

(If they announce they’ve chosen someone but don’t say who he is until his arrival at the Vatican, I suspect journalists employing detectives would figure it out before the announcement. In April 2005 the first notice some journalists had that a pope had been chosen was a cell phone call from one of the musicians who performed after the new pope’s speech, saying the musicians had just received the call that it was time for them to report to the Vatican. There are lots of ways for information to leak out when it’s a big event.)


The last non cardinal to be elected pope was Pope Urban VI, 638 year ago. I don’t think there is a protocol for this possibility. But I would guess that the Swiss Guard would go into action.


There will still be the election process, I’m sure they will get all the potential candidates in place ahead of time. I’m not sure the ‘Pope by proclamation’ made so famous in one of the daVinci Code novels is actually a possibility. As for leaks, one the one hand, our connected society make it inevitable, on the other, with the apathy exhibited towards the church by most of the secularists out there, who will care?


The election of the Pope, from my understanding, is basically a process of elimination. If a Cardinal’s name came up and he said, in the top 10, but was not present I’m pretty sure that at this day and age someone would do something to make sure that he got there.

Not only that, but the Cardinal must agree to become the Pope so that affirmation really needs to be done in person…so if he was confirmed by the commission chances are they’d want to make the affirm with the cardinal in front of him.


“If a Cardinal’s name came up and he said, in the top 10, but was not present […]”

But here we’d presumably be speaking of a non-cardinal.


I don’t think you can assume that. It could happen that during the conclave they begin to consider a candidate whom they had not thought of before. I’ve heard that in the October 1978 conclave it never occurred to anyone to choose Cardinal Wojtyła until he rose to express some opinion during the conclave. Suppose some cardinal did that and mentioned some person who was not present and suddenly it occurred to everyone there that that person ought to become pope.


Lots of people will care. Just think of the election of Benedict XVI in 2005.


“Suppose”? Frankly, I find hypotheticals wearying. And, the timing of various threads about replacing the Holy Father are suspect, in my mind.

Does anyone pray for the Church hierarchy - just as it is?


I’m thinking it’s not so much hypothetical as wishful thinking. I remember during Francis’ election there was a somewhat controversial cardinal who had often declared that Benedict’s rules didn’t go far enough. He didn’t get to go to the Vatican because of a family issue that involved a relative being near death.

Quite a few speculated that he could be declared Pope and that Rome, perhaps, would take the “show” on the road and he’d be ordained Pope right where he was so dying relative could see him become the Pope.

That said, we ought to look at history books. People are not as free to travel in years past as they are today. It would be reasonable that there’s been at least one pope that the conclave has elected that wasn’t sitting right there. Like I said before, I imagine that as the list was narrowed down, this man would be called for so he could be present should the Holy Spirit choose him.


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